Help kids with food allergies have a safe and happy Halloween

Have a safe and happy HalloweenNOTICE for anyone who would like to help keep the 1 out of 13 American kids who have food allergies safe and out of the hospital tonight:

Consider the following options for safer Halloween treats:

Nut-free candies: Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Charms lollipops, Charms Blow Pops, Dubble Bubble bubble gum, Charleston Chew, Dots gumdrops, Sweetarts, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Smarties.

Top-8-allergen-free candies: Dum Dums lollipops, YumEarth lollipops, YumEarth gummy candies, Surf Sweets jellybeans, Surf Sweets gummy candies.

Candy alternatives: Bouncy balls, glow bracelets, glow sticks stickers, plastic spiders, plastic skulls, pencils, bubble bottles.

Note that even allergy-friendly candies might be packaged with candies that contain common food allergens, especially in holiday mix bags. Some children can react to trace amounts of allergen. So always check with a food allergic child’s parents before allowing a child with a food allergy to eat a piece of candy, even if you think it is safe.

If you are planning to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, and welcome children with food allergies and other dietary restrictions to trick-or-treat safely at your home by offering non-food treats, like the candy alternatives listed above, make sure to go and get detailed Teal Pumpkin Project directions and a free printable Teal Pumpkin sign at FARE.

If a child with a food allergy will be attending a party at your home tonight, ASK THE CHILD’S PARENTS what foods are and are not safe for that child to eat. Do not assume that a child can safely eat a food just because “It’s not peanut-flavored” or “it doesn’t look like it has dairy.” Many foods contain hidden allergens and even trace amounts of an allergen can cause a severe allergic reaction for some people. If a child with a food allergy says “No thank you” to a cookie or cupcake or piece of candy you offer tonight, please listen and don’t push, even if you think the food you are offering is allergy-safe. Kids with food allergies aren’t being picky or rude when they refuse an offered treat. They are just trying to stay healthy. It’s actually very hard for kids with food allergies to say “No thank you” all night long while other people all around them are enjoying fun food without a care!

If a child with a life-threatening food allergy will be in left your care tonight, make sure that child will be carrying epinephrine. Ask what you can do to help recognize the signs of an allergic reaction, and ask whether the child or the child’s parents would be willing to train you on how to administer the child’s medicine, just in case. YOU CAN LEARN TO USE AN EPINEPHRINE AUTOINJECTOR. These devices are very safe and easy to use. It takes just minutes of training to learn how to save a life.

Happy Halloween, and thanks for helping to keep kids with food allergies safe!

How to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween

Teal Pumpkin Project | When Peanuts Attack

Two years ago, Becky Basalone, mother of a child with life-threatening food allergies and founder of FACET, a food allergy support group in Tennessee, painted a pumpkin teal, the color for food allergy awareness, and took it along with some allergy-friendly non-food treats to a local trunk-or-treat for Halloween. Two years later, her Teal Pumpkin Project is taking off across America, with backing from the national group, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and nationwide press coverage, including articles on CNN and the Today Show website. As a result, thousands of children who find trick-or-treating much scarier than it ought to be will have something special to look forward to this Halloween: allergy-safe treats they can keep.

Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project to support children with food allergies is easy. And traditionalists and candy-lovers, take heart: you can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project and still offer Halloween candy to those kids who can enjoy it. Here’s how you can join in:

Step One: Paint a pumpkin teal. Or print off this free Teal Pumpkin Poster from FARE, and tape it up in your window or on your front door, so that kids with food allergies will know that safe treats are available at your home.

Step Two: Buy some kid-friendly, food-free treats like stickers, glow sticks, glow bracelets, bubble bottles, spinning tops, toy spiders, or bouncy balls. (Avoid toys that contain food, like playdough, which often contains wheat– a top 8 food allergen.)

Step Three: Put your non-food treats in a separate bowl from your Halloween candy, to avoid accidentally contaminating the non-food treats with food from any candy packages that may come open.

Step Four: Offer a choice of candy or non-food treats to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door, and enjoy making this holiday safer and more fun for kids with food allergies!

 

Teal pumpkin | When Peanuts Attack